Some of New Jersey’s most notorious political bosses gathered Friday to raise almost half a million dollars for the failing presidential campaign of U.S. Senator Cory Booker while a handful of grassroots movement leaders spoke out in condemnation.
The Booker fundraiser was hosted by South Jersey political boss George Norcross and Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, whose administration is collaborating with the Trump administration to detain immigrants in barbaric jail conditions.
“It’s easy for Sen. Booker to pledge not to accept PAC money when he’s attending a fundraiser co-hosted by the man most political observers view as the person connected to the General Majority PAC,” said Republican Tricia Flanagan, who noted that Norcross controls the dark money super PAC General Majority. “How many donors to General Majority will be at today’s fundraiser?”
Contributors attending the lunch at Nanina’s, 540 Mill Street, Belleville, were greeted by protesters assembled across the street at Branch Brook Park. Among the groups democtrating against Booker were Action Together NJ, SOMA Action, Essex Rising, Our Revolution and NJ11forChange.
The $2,800-per-head fundraiser netted at least $470,000, possibly violating Booker’s pledge not to take money from corporate PACs.
“With the failure to pass even the pittance that is the ‘millionaires tax’ the Democrats have shown their real colors,” said Jay Arena, a vocal critic who dubbed the Essex County Executive “Deportation Joe” for collaborating with Trump.
“This feels like a critically important opportunity in the lead up to the presidential primary debates to expose the New Jersey Democratic Party establishment for their role in building and empowering Trumps’ deportation machine,” said Matthew Smith, an organizer with Food and Water Watch.
Despite repeated calls to cancel the county’s contract with the U.S. Immigration, Customs and Enforcement Agency (ICE), DiVincenzo has kept the facility open to make $40 million annually in what opponents have called “blood money.”
The reports on the conditions inside the jail highlights the lack of justice which makes the refusal to cancel the contract even worse.
“New Jersey and the nation should be hoghly suspicious of Booker for receiving support in his presidential bid from Norcross, a power broker who uses his influence to rob money from the poor and give it to the rich, instead of helping to improve conditions for the majority of working people,” said Lisa McCormick, a progressive Democrat who did not attend the protest.
Booker is trailing near the bottom of 23 candidates who are seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Front running contenders Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris have paid scant attention to Booker.
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